Otoshi Hiji Ate – Downward Elbow Strike

Otoshi Hiji Ate

Otoshi Hiji Ate

The Downward Elbow Strike is a devastating move which can produce a lot of damage, it might be present in a Kata or in many techniques. Here we will study the proper execution and application of this strike. This strike is present in many martial arts and it might differ in the application by the principles remain the same.

The elbow is made up of three bones and these are connected by muscles, ligaments and tendons. The part of the elbow which makes contact on every elbow strike is called olecranon, a pointy bone which can produce a lot of damage.

Against a Front Tackle

The Downward Elbow Strike can be a perfect technique against a tackle, as the person attacks by heading to the middle section to take you to the ground you can execute your elbow strike on his back to take him down. The attacker will be off balance and the pain will stop him from doing anything.

Against a Rear Bear hold with arms free

The attacker comes from being to apply a Rear Bear hold, your arms are free but that does not mean you cannot get hurt because he might want to throw you in the ground or hold you for another attacker coming from a different angle. Apply the Downward Elbow strike to his forearm, the bone will hurt the tendons and the muscles so bad on the forearm that he won’t be able move his hands, depending on the force it might break a bone on the attacker’s forearm. If you apply this elbow strike on the wrist or hands he will let go immediately and the damage will be more because the wrist and hands have small bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments.

Against a front Bear hold with arms free

This kind of attack is not common but in the case of an attack like that, the attacker might want to take you down to finish you. Immediately deliver a Downward Elbow strike to the shoulder or neck area. If you fall on your back you might hit your head, there might be a rock or anything that can hurt your spine. Keep in mind that anything is possible on the streets that is why you need to think outside the box and be open minded when it comes to Self Defense.

The proper way to execute the Downward Elbow Strike

  • For training purposes you can start on a Kiba Dachi, then the striking arm has to be raised opening the hand.
  • Your other hand should be checking the target, then the striking arm is brought down.
  • Rotate the arm as it comes down having the fist fingers face you.
  • Drop your height by bending your knees, this will increase the power of the elbow strike. This will help you keep your balance controlling the opponent.
  • Push the attacker away from you and step back.


  • Keeping your back straight, dropping your height and bending your knees will keep you stable.
  • In a self defense technique one hand might have to grab in order to successfully execute the Downward Elbow Strike.
  • Separate your legs to create a stable base, a recommended stance would be Kiba Dachi.

Karate Techniques

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